Deception of Jacob’s Sons

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29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes 30 and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?” 31 Then they took Joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 And they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not.” 33 And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. 36 Meanwhile the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard. 

Genesis 37:29-36 ESV

(Disclaimer: I love Jacob and I am in no way out to malign his character nor call into question his favored position with God by sharing this.) I am always amazed how Jacob responds to Joseph’s plight. While Jacob has been both the deceiver (Gen 27) and deceived (by Laban Gen 29 and in this passage), the deception that occurs in Genesis 37:29-36 is both tragic and prophetic.

Isaac, due to his failing eyesight questioned Jacob numerous times to hear and feel if he was really Esau (Gen 27). Jacob questioned Laban’s deceit in marrying Leah (Gen 29:25). Yet, no questions were asked in Genesis 37:29-36. Jacob’s sons commanded him to identify (hiphil, imperative, 2ms) if this was his’s sons robe or not (v 32). Jacob identifies it and automatically without doubt assumes that Joseph was devoured by a fierce animal and torn to pieces (v 33). Jacob does not ask one question. Jacob blindly accepts that what he sees is the truth. Jacob does not give any consideration to the fact that he is being deceived. Due to the sons hatred for Joseph they willfully deceive their father. The sons could have alleviated Jacob’s heartache by confessing “they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver” (37:28) and that the blood on Joseph’s robe belongs to a goat (37:32).

This perception of the truth results in Jacob tearing his own garment and putting sackcloth literally on his loins and mourned (v 34); refusing to be comforted (v 35). Mathews states, “Jacob performed the traditional acts of mourning the dead. Scruffy “sackcloth” was worn (here, lit., “on his loins”) by mourners to inflict on themselves biting discomfort…That Jacob refused his children’s consolation was uncommon, revealing the intensity of his grief (cf. Isa 22:4), for his rejection of comforters meant the most aggravated anguish (e.g., Ps 69:20[21])…Typically, a period of mourning would be appointed (e.g., 27:41; 50:4; Deut 34:8), but in Jacob’s mind no end to his sorrow is possible (e.g., Isa 51:19); therefore he believes he will die “in [the state of] mourning” (v. 35), finding relief only in meeting his deceased son “in Sheol” (K. Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26 NAC, 2005, p. 701).

For 22 years Jacob believed that Joseph was dead. But God, in His mercy allows Jacob to reunite with Joseph after 22 years! (For my thoughts on Jospeh and Potiphar click on the hyperlink.) “What happens to Joseph foreshadows all that will happen to the sons of Jacob. They will be carried into Egypt and will be put into slavery. In this sense, then, Jacob’s final words set the focus of the narratives to follow: “in mourning will I go down to the grave [Sheol] to my son” (v. 35). Ironically, the narratives about Joseph conclude with Jacob’s going down (46:3–4) to Egypt to see his son and then end with his own death (50:24–26)” (J. Sailhamer, “Genesis” REBC, 2008, p. 275).

What happened with Jacob is again, tragic and prophetic. It is equally tragic and prophetic that the sons (children) of God are being deceived today. There is no question that end time deception is upon us and Jesus’s words are coming to life in real time: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matt 10:34-36). Not all family members share in our joy of our faith in Christ. Not all family members accept that we hold the Bible as our standard of Truth. Not all family members have the same view of current events.

We are living in a time where it is easy to be manipulated. Dear reader, you do not need me to tell you that we have access to information at rates never before imagined. Not every act of deception is intentional and nefarious (some really are unintentional); however, now more than ever do believers need to ask questions about what they see, read and hear. We need to exercise wisdom, discernment and common sense when it comes to what we take in and what we share with others.

It is concerning to me how often believers share information without checking to see who wrote the article and if what they are sharing is valid. 22 years is a long time to wait before asking questions. The way this world is moving we may not have 22 years to wait to find out the truth like Jacob did and learning that Joseph was alive.

We need to start asking questions now. We need to be like the Bereans and examine if what we are hearing is in line with Scripture (Acts 17:11). Truth be told, it is always easier to see how someone else is being deceived rather than self-reflecting if our own beliefs/thoughts/perceptions are true. There is no longer any excuse, the time has come for each believer to “test the spirits to see if they are from God” (1 John 4:1).

Lord God, thank You for Your Word. Thank You Lord that in Your Word we learn who You are, who we are and what You require of Your people. Lord God, have mercy on believers. Lord God, fill those of us who are in Christ with wisdom, discernment and common sense. Lord God, for those whom You have called to be watchmen, help them to be vigilant in being on guard. For those who You have called to shepherd Your people, may they lead, feed and protect Your people well. Lord God, help us to what information to take in and what information to discard. Help us to investigate to the best we can if what we are reading, hearing and seeing is true.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord God, for the reader who is in Christ may they set their hearts and minds on You and not the things of this world. Lord God, for the reader who does not know Christ, I ask with a heavy and burdened heart for today to be the day of their salvation. Lord God, You abhor sin. You abhor deceitful scales and lying tongues. Lord, help Your people to be Ambassadors of Christ today: pointing the lost to Jesus and building up Your Body. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

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Blue Collar Theologian

My name is Mandy Sweigart-Quinn, I live in Lancaster, PA and I am a “Blue Collar Theologian.” I love Jesus! I am passionate about His Word (The Holy Bible)! I come alive when I can encourage others in their walk with Jesus (whether by writing or speaking). As a “Blue Collar Theologian” it is my aim to live/practice/work out my Christian hope with sincerity, authenticity and genuineness. As a “Blue Collar Theologian,” I strive to meet people right where they are (“Incarnational Theology”). I graduated in May 2019 from Capital Seminary and Graduate School with a Master's in Biblical Studies. I am a passionate, excited and enthusiastic person! I love flowers, sports and sunsets. Since January 2, 2018 I have had the privilege of being married to Nathan.

62 thoughts on “Deception of Jacob’s Sons”

  1. Mandy, our Sunday school class is studying Genesis, and we have just started the story of Joseph, so this was a timely piece for me to read.
    Since I have received numerous articles and videos from all over the spectrum, the issue of truth vs deception has been on my mind a lot lately. So, thank you for addressing this. We don’t want to be “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine.” (Ephesians 4:14)

    Conspiracy, or Just Theory?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember this post! Conspiracy theories and the Bible cannot co-exist (the co-exist, tolerance moment also a deceptive lie from the pit of hell but I digress). I am glad that your Sunday school class is going over Genesis. Do you do any of the teaching for those classes?!

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  2. Very sound advice Mandy, biblical discernment and verification of source documents, plus any other prudent research is not an option, and if one does not consistently exercise it, what with the super abundance of misinformation and disinformation (false doctrines and prophets) there are, one can and should reasonably expect to be become one of the riders on one of the numerous off ramps on the straight and narrow way, in the near future. And once you get on one of those off ramps, it is not an easy thing to get off of. Indifference breeds more indifference and the grade of the road becomes increasingly greater, in a downward direction, until you are no longer driving but simply coasting, allowing the road to dictate where you go. And pride is a big deterrent, to stopping and turning back. Excellent post, thank you! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Bruce! Obviously we do not write for the approval of people; however, I was confident we would be likeminded on this one! “Indifference breeds more indifference” so, so true (unfortunately!). I am actively praying that I would not be so arrogant to think that I am above being deceived. I know I have written that many times in my posts (I had that written but may have deleted that line) and I mean it sincerely. I appreciate your coasting imagery. There is no coasting in the Christian life either we are moving closer to Christ or we are backsliding, moving away from Christ. I am grieved by the amount of deception that is being spread by the Church and in the Church. I grieve for those who are being abused by the NAR and Prosperity gospel. I am equally incensed by everything that comes out of Bethel and the NAR, Prosperity, ARC that is deceiving God’s people. The second part of James 1:27 is becoming harder and harder to apply, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (ESV) praise God for the Holy Spirit’s help and that we do not have to have to fight these battles in our own strength. Love and blessings to you and Peggy!!!

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      1. I’m always mindful that if the Apostle Peter could be deceived into thinking that he should distance himself from the Gentile believers due to fear of offending or losing the approval of the Jewish believers that still considered circumcision necessary, then it can happen to any of us. I don’t think anyone is immune but there are prudent steps to consistently use which will definitely minimize that likelihood. And then of course, there is God’s grace, Who has numerous ways of getting up back on track. I strongly suspect He is working on some of my misunderstandings now. God’s grace, peace and blessings to you and Nathan also!

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      2. I’m thinking that Acts 2 took place after Galatians 2 because apparently that discrepancy with regard to circumcision had been hammered out. That’s just off the top of my head, I can look into it further if you wish!

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      3. I am also in the came the events Paul discusses in Gal 2 is before Acts 15. It is likely the event in Gal 2 was the catalyst for the Jerusalem Council. I don’t think Peter was deceived in Galatians 2; however, I do agree that he allowed the opinion of man to outweigh the command of God. Peter at some point repents based on his comments during the council meeting. We often forget that Barnabas was with Peter as well who would have known better than to not eat with the uncircumcised. If the events in Gal 2 are before Acts 15, how amazing and like God to make it that Paul and Barnabas would plant churches together before their split over John Mark.

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  3. Excellent insight: “We need to start asking questions now. We need to be like the Bereans and examine if what we are hearing is in line with Scripture.”

    I have also learned; I need to look at the character of the source of the information as well. Jesus warned us we would know them by their fruit. That is indeed true.

    The other side of this is the danger of becoming a “heresy chaser”. Paul gives a sobering account of its danger in Romans 14. “As for mthe one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.”

    Blessings my friend.

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    1. Thanks, Michael! What do you mean by a heresy chaser? Is that someone who exposes false teachers/teachings? There are definitely right and wrong motives in exposing frauds. I can also see a “heresy chaser” as someone who is looking to cause conflict, majoring on the minors. It is important to look at the character of the source of information. Shame, deception and delusion are all around us. We need the Holy Spirit’s guidance now more than ever!

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      1. Hmm … “heresy chaser” is a name I made up. Your definition is a great one “Heresy chaser” as someone who is looking to cause conflict, majoring on the minors.”

        I see a lot of arguments among Christians where the essence of the argument is to accuse the other of heresy. Some spend a lot of time chasing after heretics. It is my opinion that it is destroying the unity of the body of Jesus, the church. Majoring on minor issues of opinion is not helpful.

        Of course, one of the most famous heretics is Martin Luther, in the opinion of Pope Leo X. Obviously, the gauge for “heretical” teaching varies according to the established orthodoxy of the day. Any group or individual who differs from another group can technically be called heretical. In Acts 24:14, Christians are called heretics by the Jews.

        Regarding biblical Christianity, what is heresy? Second Peter 2:1 says, “There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” From this verse, we see that heresy is anything that denies the teaching of Jesus and basics of Christian faith. We can always look core creeds and confessions for what the major doctrines should include.

        How does the Bible deal with heresy? Titus 3:10 says, “A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject” (KJV). Other translations say “divisive person,” “factious man,” and “person who stirs up division.” When a person in the church departs from biblical teaching, the correct response is to, first, try to correct him, but if he refuses to listen after two warnings, have nothing more to do with him.
        Of course, not every disagreement in the church is heresy. Having a different opinion is not wrong, but when the opinion is divisive or maintained in defiance of clear biblical teaching, it becomes heretical. The apostles themselves disagreed at times (see Acts 15:36-41), and Peter once had to be rebuked for divisive and legalistic behavior (Galatians 2:11-14).

        How do we guard against “heresy chasing”? Philippians 2:2-3 is a good starting point: “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” As we submit ourselves to the authority of God’s Word and deal with one another in love and respect, divisions and heresies will be diminished and can live in unity.

        Sorry for the long answer. I have been thinking and studying this a lot lately. We need more unity and ought to do more to achieve it.

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      2. I agree that we need more unity. At the same time we need to be more vigilant and on guard to deceptions and heresies now more than ever. This is also an area where I have been thinking and studying as well. Never hesitate to share your thoughts!

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  4. Good points and timely truths here, so well exemplified through Jacob. First the brother’s disassociate from Joseph, “we found this…is it your son’s robe..” Not, “something’s happened to our brother!”
    And you’re right Mandy, wouldn’t we question everything and finally insist, “take me where you found this!”
    Jesus warned about deception more than anything else.
    “…if what we are hearing is in line with Scripture (Acts 17:11)” Sadly, many who are deceived don’t even study the Scriptures. They find fleshly and provocative info/articles more tantalizing.
    I see this post as a critical warning against apostasy, which is the fruition of every deceiving seed.
    Press on dear sister, the time is short!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lisa for your thoughts and encouragement! You are so right that “the time is short!” Also, I am with you I cannot imagine us not demanding to go to the scene of the incident. Part of the reason I think the brothers didn’t address Jacob with a question was because they already knew it was Jospeh’s so why feign ignorance. I could be wrong on that so don’t hold me to it! It is really sad that Christians do not read and study the Word for themselves. Studying the Scriptures used to be considered a virtue now it seems to be considered a waste of time. I praise God for you Lisa and for the opportunity to journey with you. I love and appreciate you so very, very much! (And no you’re not on a pedestal!!!)

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  5. Good point that information and misinformation comes to us much faster today than in the past. Today at least I’ve realized that there is misinformation to worry about.

    When you mentioned sackcloth I wondered what would parallel that form of mourning today.

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    1. Misinformation is everywhere and the church is certainly not immune. What a great question, Frank! I will have to do some research, just out of sheer curiosity! In the USA or the west I would say nothing, maybe wearing something black? I know some countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean have mourning attire. When I was in Sierra Leone, they have professional mourners. I love Sierra Leone, the way they conduct funerals, mourning and loss is unlike anything we can imagine in the States.

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      1. What makes me wonder about sackcloth is that it must have been very uncomfortable to wear if it is material that’s used for bags to store grain. Wearing black is more symbolic rather than uncomfortable. I see sackcloth as like fasting but with one’s clothing.

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    1. Many men and women have died bringing the Word of God to the masses in their own language, excellent point. There is so much deception and Scripture twisting in our midst. The lie of deception in the garden is the same lie and deception today, “did God really say?!” Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  6. Well said Mandy. People just blindly believe anything without questioning the authenticity of the source. And it is widespread when it comes to scripture and spiritual matters. Many infuse their own standard of what is the truth. May we indeed examine and see if things are in line with scripture. We are warned in scripture about deception. Jacob for not questioning paid the price for 22 years. There is a consequence after all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, Manu! Consequences are very much overlooked in our current “you do you” culture. God cannot and will not be mocked. So thankful for your heart for discerning and sharing God’s Word truthfully! Love you friend!!! 🤗🤗🧡🧡

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  7. Yes, misinformation is everywhere. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve clicked on a news article (“mainstream media’, aka Big Media) because of the headline, only to find when reading the text that it completely contradicts the title! Since most just read the title and then skim the article–if they read it at all–then the disinformation has been disseminated ‘effectively’. That is assuming that was the goal to begin with.

    On another forum I read there are many who post sources which assert a particular position, providing ‘evidence’ for this position, yet the ‘evidence’ does not support the assertion. I think in some cases it is ignorance. In others it is a sort of cognitive dissonance as a result of confirmation bias. That is, the individual wants it to be true, and so cannot think rationally to discern the truthfulness of the source.

    I think we are either at or very close to the time in which God Himself will send a ‘strong delusion’ to those who refuse to love the T/truth (2Thess 2:11-12).

    As regards sources generally, I wrote this cautionary piece 1.5 years ago: Consider the Source. It discusses the genetic fallacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, Craig! I have been experiencing the same thing as of late and it is SO frustrating! I think you are right that certain people want things to be true and can’t appropriately discern the truth of the source.

      I VERY much think we are at the time of the end and that the we are starting to see and experience the beginning effects of the strong delusion. Apostasy is rampant. I was on the phone with my mom earlier and I said the major downfall to PTR is that believers are about to be tossed to and fro because the church isn’t being raptured out. These folks will either fall away or embrace a leader or organization that promises to be a light and a new dawn but is lit on fire by the flames of hell, dawning a terrifying and freighting end. Keep going, Craig! So thankful for your discernment!

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      1. I’m pretty certain leaders in and followers of the ‘hyper-charismatic’ camp (“New Apostolic Reformation”, etc.) will fall for the forthcoming New Age messiah, aka the antichrist/lawless one. If you’re not aware, some expressly state that Christ’s return will not be physical, but spiritual–to be in ‘christians’ (citing “Christ in you, the hope of glory”). Very dangerous stuff. And I’ve a feeling that, due to Biblical ignorance, some who had been waiting for the PTR will fall for this, as well.

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      2. I agree with you 100%! The NAR, New Age and Progressive Christianity’s Christ Consciousness is leading people into hell hand over fist. The “woke” left and the “awakened” right is fascinating to watch. For those on the right who think God is on their side, they will have a real rude “awakening” (non pun intended) when they realize they were not on the side of God but on the side of darkness. This right Luciferian agenda is something that I am watching closely. 2022 is going to be a tumultuous year, praise God for the people of God we are sheltered in Him during these trials/storms.

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      1. You are welcome! I’m reading the bible in one year sp Genesis is always a good place to start. Many blessings to you and family!! 🥰

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  8. Good post! I’m always fascinated with the themes of deception in the book of Genesis; there was so many of it! And Jacob who was the deceptive trickster gets it back to him with his sons’ deception. We are living in a time with lots of deceptions, as you applied it; even believers. Its not easy these days seeing beleivers get duped…sobering.

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      1. We’re sick as a family probably with the rona but it seems the earlier strands are worst and we have something less devastating with this strand. How are you and how is Nathan’s hand???

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      2. From what we are seeing here this isn’t as bad as previous. We will pray for y’all to get better quickly. God also knows you needed a work time out too and so He’s allowing you to stop and rest!!! Truthfully, Nathan’s hand is getting worse😬😬😬he sees his GP in 2 weeks. I hope she can get him in to see orthopedic Dr sooner!

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  9. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth…” 2 Thess. 2:10

    Deception comes to those who love not the truth. There is a propensity for humanity to chose what they believe based on their own internal bias. Their choices are subjective and reveal their own internal affections. They who love truth and because of truth set aside that malignant self with all of its deceptive ways become more and more objective in their walk. A dead man has no personal inclinations and as the cross has its way in us we are free from the strife and the turmoil. “All who live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL suffer persecution”. May we settle in our hearts to walk rightly…

    “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth (in the spirit) entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” 2 Tim. 2:4 (parenthesis my add)

    If we are occupied in His Will we are free from the storms which rage below.
    BT

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Brian! The strong delusion is upon us. I plan to incorporate 2 Thessalonians, 2 Peter and Jude in coming posts about deception and delusion. It grieves me to see people being tossed to and fro. It is vital to have a firm foundation, rooted in Christ, being built with His materials. Obedience, submission and self-denial are taboo virtues today. You are right about settling our hearts to walk rightly for Christ, according to His purposes which we find in Scripture. Blessings to you and your family!

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  10. Sorry for the delay of getting back to you! I thought I have Jim Hamilton’s book, tried looking for it, maybe I don’t have it! Thought I ordered it before, will look for it in next couple of days…that’s cool you are reading it!

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  11. Really well said Mandy. And this is a great point, “ Truth be told, it is always easier to see how someone else is being deceived rather than self-reflecting if our own beliefs/thoughts/perceptions are true”
    Praying that you will feel the presence of God in a very real way today.
    Love and blessings dear Mandy. ❤️✨

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read this! It’s so easy to look at the speck in someone else’s eye rather than the log in our own. I am so thankful for you, Crissy! Let me know when you have some time to Skype!! Love and blessings!!!! 🤗🤗🙏🙏🧡🧡

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  12. There were times I have wondered why God holds up certain flawed characters in scripture as pillars and towers of the faith. Yet, we… hopefully, have learned from these giants of the Word. I get encouraged knowing He still uses our frailties for the good. So glad you have covered this section scripture. Hugs & God’s grip – Alan

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  13. Well said, Mandy. Coincidentally, I just read this story today so it’s fresh on my mind as you break it down. I don’t know if we can assume Jacob didn’t say anything more to his sons just because it isn’t recorded. But it does seem strange that he didn’t want to at least see the place where the alleged incident occurred, before he dove right into inconsolable grief and mourning. 🤔

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    1. I don’t think we can assume he did say anything to the sons either. Jacob repeatedly lamented over Joseph’s death and not wanting to send Benjamin with to Egypt. The sons I would think thought it was possible for Joseph to be dead. The sons also made reference to the fact that they were being tested/treated harshly for what they did to Joseph. I really think Jacob’s lament is total and he would not believe anything at that moment other than the story he told himself. I come to this conclusion as well because when the sons “told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them” (Gen 45:26). Jacob did not believe his sons at first. They had to continue talking to get get Jacob to believe them. “But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.” (Gen 45:27-28 ESV). Lies slowly become the truth. Praise God there is no lie nor deception in our Triune God.

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